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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, February 27, 2015

Raising The Bar




Lynda Minks Hood

A public service of the Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA), the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) was created in the 1980’s to provide consumers with guidance on selecting and hiring a qualified lawyer who’s conveniently located and handles the consumer’s particular legal matter. Lawyer referral services have been around for more than 50 years, and were created to help middle income people find appropriate legal counsel.

Our LRS is dedicated to helping persons who are able to pay attorney fees but have become frustrated with their inability to find representation due to their lack of experience with the legal system. There are many Americans who don’t employ attorneys because of the perceived cost of legal representation. But studies show many are unaware that their situation is a legal problem, and that a lawyer should be hired to resolve it. The American Bar Association’s Survey of Legal Needs shows that 85 percent of those surveyed thought people don’t hire lawyers because they have no way of knowing which lawyer is competent to handle their particular problem.

The primary purpose of the CBA is to work for the betterment of the legal profession and the administration of justice through its programs and services to the community, clients, and members. As part of our service to our community and our clients, our LRS is designed to help people determine if the issue they have is of a legal nature, or if it needs to be referred to a local service agency.

The most important function of our LRS is to provide the caller/client with a referral to one of our lawyers (who is in the LRS) with experience in the area of law the client needs.

Our service is different from the other lawyer referral services in that we do not charge the client a fee to use the service, nor does the attorney pay a percentage of the fees they collect from the referred client back to the CBA. Our service is designed to be free for clients, while participating lawyers provide one 30 minute consultation to each referral.

Why you should participate

in the LRS:

• You’ll be able to build your practice with potential new clients who have legal problems in your practice areas.

• The CBA’s Lawyer Referral Page will link directly to your web site or email address.

• You’ll have your own page in the area of law you sign up for. This page will contain information you provide about: your education; the types of cases you handle; your qualifications; your professional memberships; your accomplishments; your practice, or firm; and your fee structure. You can also include a get-to-know-me section.

• You’ll be helping the community to understand the need for using a lawyer to help solve legal issues.

You’ll be helping the public develop a better understanding of the law and the legal profession.

Last year, the CBA’s lawyer referral website hosted over 10,000 sessions. Of those more than 10,000 hits, 9,104 were users who collectively viewed over 21,000 pages. This is in addition to the phone calls received at the CBA office. For clients who don’t have Internet access and call the CBA office, attorneys’ names are referred on a rotating basis.

Benefits to the public:

• The ability to find a lawyer in Chattanooga who practices in a specific area by visiting the CBA online at www.chattanoogabar.org.

• Free referrals and 24/7 access to lawyers organized by practice area.

• The ability to research the lawyer beforehand on the CBA website. The Lawyer Referral page links directly to the lawyer’s web page.

• Participating lawyers are guaranteed to promptly discuss someone’s case over the phone.

Why should you join the LRS panel? Joining the LRS as a panel attorney provides you with a steady flow of clients seeking legal assistance.

Why is the LRS worth your time and attention? Your local bar association is usually the first place people turn to when looking for an attorney! And it’s a good public image tool that’s working for the betterment of the legal profession.

Annual CBA Memorial Service

The Memorial Service of the Chattanooga Bar Association will be held on Friday, March 6, 2015, at 11 a.m. at the Hamilton County Courthouse in the County Commission Room. The Memorial Service is held annually to honor the attorneys who passed away in the past year with Memorial Resolutions that are read and filed in the archives of the CBA and enrolled in the Memorial Resolution Books of the Circuit and Chancery Courts of Chattanooga. The attorneys who will be memorialized are:

Harold A. “Hal” Schwartz, Jr.

March 5

Stephen Milton Goldstein

May 6

Fred Duncan Swindoll

May 6

Lorraine Raymond

May 27

J. William “Bill” Pope, Jr.

July 8

Michael M. “Mike” Raulston

Sept. 5

Shields Wilson

September 11

Fred T. Hanzelik

October 24

On this note, I thought it fitting to let our members know a gift of $10,000 from the Estate of Hal Schwartz was given to the Chattanooga Bar Foundation. When I received word that we were receiving this generous gift, we were in the midst of renovating the CBA office space, and also in the planning stages of the new CBA website. Out of courtesy to the Schwartz family, I reached out to Hal’s widow, Elwynn Schwartz, to determine if she felt using all or a portion of the gift to assist in accomplishing these activities would be consistent with the donative intent of Mr. Schwartz.

Mrs. Schwartz said it absolutely would. At the December Board of Governors meeting, I presented this information to the Board and asked what they thought about using the money to help with the renovation by upgrading the office furniture and creating a new website for the Association. Accordingly, a motion was made and seconded, and the Board unanimously voted to grant the use of these funds to accomplish these objectives in a manner we felt was reasonable and financially prudent.

Hal was always optimistic, always had something nice to say about everyone, and loved the CBA. Even in his passing, his fondness for his fellow attorneys, his love for the legal profession, and his love of the CBA is evident with his generous gift.